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Vertical Multiband HF or Dipole: What works better?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KC0IAZ, Apr 14, 2011.

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  1. KC0IAZ

    KC0IAZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi all,
    I moved from Kansas to Cripple Creek, CO last fall, and am setteled in enough now to start researching what type of antenna(s) to use. As I only have been a General for a farily short time, I don't have a lot of experience with HF antennas, except for a 40/80 meter trap dipole that I had that worked well. For now, I want to work mainly 40 meters and 10 meters. I am a little limited on space, (but can fit in a 40 meter dipole), budget, and I want a broadband antenna that I can use with no tuner, (for now), if possible.
    Does a multiband vertical, like the Hustler 4-BTV perform well overall? Or should I go with a 40 meter dipole, and a 10 meter vertical? Max height to the antenna feedpoints will be around 30 feet.
    Also, is a 5/8 wave vertical groundplane as good / better than a dipole on 10 meters?
    Thanks and 73's Todd.
  2. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The 4BTV or the 5BTV will work very well as long as you have a sufficient number of radials. I would go with the 5BTV just because you might want to operate 80 some day but either one would be fine. I personally prefer the Butternut antennas but Hustler antennas are fine and there are thousands of them in service.

    Takeoff angle will be lower with a vertical making it a good DX antenna. A 40 meter dipole at 60 feet will also be a low angle radiator and you don't need a ground. If you only care about fourty and ten meters and have the room and supports, then a 40 m dipole and 10 m ground plane would be acceptable. If you want to work 15 and 20 once in a while then go with the vertical.

    If you just want to work all bands from a single dipole then just feed it with ladder line but you will need a tuner. You can get a tuner for a lot less money than a brand new 4 or 5BTV antenna by the way.
  3. N0IP

    N0IP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used a vertical, quad, and dipole antennas over the years. At my new QTH, I've decided to go with a New Carolina Windom for reasons that I explain here:

    If you decide to make or buy one of these, let me know. We can compare notes.


    Todd, NI├śL
  4. K0HWY

    K0HWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dollar for dollar, I'd recommend an all band doublet. As was mentioned, you will need to utilize and antenna tuner but you can get something like the MFJ-949E for around $150. Ladder line is relatively cheap. Everything else you need can be bought at home depot. Including the tuner, you should be able to come out in the neighborhood of $200.

    Concerning the ground plane on 10m, it really depends on what you're hoping to do. I use a Solarcon Imax 2000 for most 10m operation. The tuning rings do allow it to be tuned for an acceptable SWR for part of the band but if you plan to get up around 29 and above, you'll need a tuner or you'll have to cut a little off the antenna. I'm not a big fan of cutting fiberglass antennas, so I decided to go with the tuner.
  5. W5DXP

    W5DXP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's how to tune an all band doublet without a conventional tuner.
  6. 2E0OZI

    2E0OZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cripple Creek? :) Yes I do play the banjo.
  7. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Limited space? You must be right down town CC.

    I use both types, and to my surprise, even though my 20 meter dipole is low to the ground and my 40 not much better, that the dipoles are almost always giving me higher s meter readings than my 1/4 wave ground mounted verticals [home brew single band full size verticals with radials] on the same bands. However, I'm first to admit that my 'radials' for the verticals are pretty minimal due to MY space limitations.

    I hope next summer to be able to test some more antenna configurations.

    How about a horizontal loop?

    I'm a big fan of "All of the Above" - never had too many antennas.

    PS, My Elmer swears by the Solarcon's for 10 meters.
  8. EI4GMB

    EI4GMB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Todd,

    A G5RV Jr.(51ft)(10m,20m &40m) might also be a good idea. This is a cheap and effective limited space antenna that can be matched on 10m,20m & 40m using an internal tuner. Hope this helps ;)

    Best Regards

    Fred EI4GMB
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  9. N6YG

    N6YG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll second the vote for the Hustler vertical. I have both a Hustler 6BTV and an all band doublet at 65 feet. The hustler is almost always better then the doublet and On 40 meters the Hustler literally whomps the doublet hands down. every once in a while on 20 the doublet might be a tiny bit better but not really enough to worry about. Of course I have a fairly good radial system under the Hustler. To put it simply with a good radial system the hustler is better then the doublet and without, its worse.

    With no radials the hustler was a big dummy load and the Doublet was far superior. At about 30 radials the vertical matched the doublet and at 60 it surpassed it. To be honest I couldn't tell a difference between 60 and 100 radials which leads me to believe 60 radials was the point of diminishing returns.
  10. N1CZZ

    N1CZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    What is the length of your radials.
  11. N6YG

    N6YG Ham Member QRZ Page

    At this location they vary in length from 1/4 wave on 80 meters down to about 20 feet. At the previous QTH I had 100 1/4 wave 80 meter radials. To be honest I won't ever do that again. It really seemed like a colossal waste of time, effort and money.

    At the time we lived on a 2 acre ranch. I had two ground mounted hustlers verticals. One with 100 80 meter radials and another that was in a tighter location which only had 60 radials which were only about 30 feet. The difference was so negligible that I was kicking myself for wasting the time and money putting down 120 radials on the first antenna. I also had a bunch of wire in the air and the verticals almost always whomped the wires.

    I finally moved the hustler with the 80 meter radials to the top of one of the horse barns at about 50 feet because the horses kept digging up the radials. Now the Hustler that was mounted at 50 feet had three full sized radials per band and it seemed a bit quieter and performed slightly better on 20 through 10 but not enough to justify the hassle of installing it.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  12. N0AZZ

    N0AZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have a look at the Hi Gain verticals they work very well the non trapped ones are better. A 40m dipole will work 15m very well and a good band for DX and local. I have all types of antennas and it just depends on conditions as which antenna works best on what day. My Hi Gain 53' free standing vertical with 48 radials is a killer on 80m always has been i do have a OCFD 270' @ 60' 6-160m that I use for 80/160m mostly.
  13. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    The last time I visited CC was in the mid 70's, the yuppies hadnt ruined it yet.

    Anyway at that altitude up in the Rockies you may be a bit surprised by what works or doesnt.
    Unless there is still a lot of gold/silver/copper under your yard the ground conductivity will be poor. Id mount a vertical on a roof and run elevated radials and also install some basic horizontal wire for comparison.

  14. N5YPJ

    N5YPJ QRZ Moderator QRZ Page

    I have used both a Hustler 6 BTV and a number of dipoles & doublets over the years. Both are good antennas if properly installed. The vertical needs a radial system, I have had my vertical both elevated and ground mounted with 46 20 ft radials - elevated is the winner if you can do it. If you can get a dipole at least 32 feet or higher above ground it will be OK for contacts on the higher bands - 20, 15 , 10 mtrs, on 40 meters you will work some DX especially at gray line time of the day, 80 will be primarily regional contacts though some folks do manage to work DX when condx are really good. Timing plays a big part in working DX stations.

    If possible put up a vertical with radials and a dipole. You won't be disappointed.
  15. KC4SJC

    KC4SJC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll "ditto" KM1H's suggestion. A good basic vertical mounted at even a modest height, with elevated radials is a good all-round performer for 20-10 meters. For basic operations on 80/40 I suggest a simple fan dipole cut for both bands up as high as you can get it oriented of course in your preferred direction. Lots off good info on the web for how to construct--and they're really inexpensive but good performers. Bottom line: Get an antenna up and operational...otherwise you'll think it to death.

    73s Dave
  16. AD4DQ

    AD4DQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Im a dipole kind of operator.... I had a BTV-4 and all those radials are a pain in the behind, but when set up it worked pretty good. I like the dipoles, when they are cut right then thats it, no tuner needed, no radials... the G5RV might be a good option. Plus you do get a little gain with a dipole. I had a 40 meter dipole that was 1-1 on the whole band. I lost it when I moved, man that was a nice antenna.
  17. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Bottom line: Get an antenna up and operational...otherwise you'll think it to death.

    73s Dave "

    Listen to him Flounder, he's Pre-Med. ANY antenna beats no antenna, that is for sure.

    AND, I second, get one up, no saying you can't change your mind later, wire antennas are cheap indeed.
  18. KC0IAZ

    KC0IAZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is all great advice. Thanks! The Ham Radio hobby is great , so many willing to freely give sound advice! I will construct what my budget allows, and take the advice of kc4sjc: "to get an antenna up and operational, otherwise think it to death".
    73's Todd
  19. N3OX

    N3OX Ham Member QRZ Page

    If there's enough gold under KC0IAZ's place to make a difference in the ground conductivity, then the choice of antenna is clear. Big rotating tower with as much aluminum as it can hold. If the neighbors complain? Buy up their properties, use it for low band arrays. :D

    But seriously, I agree with you and everyone else that says "try both." I've done that and tended to lean toward horizontals on the high bands, but it's always worth comparing and might be worth keeping both depending on what you find.

    Being willing to put in the effort to compare a couple antennas will often ensure you have the biggest signal your resources will allow.
  20. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Except that if you ground mount it and put down 60 or more radials as several others have mentioned it doesn't matter if the ground under it is glass, it will work well.
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